Dec. 30, 2011
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BLAINE, Minn. -- A total of 41 of the nation’s best women’s hockey players are spending the week in the state of hockey as they vie for a spot on the squad that will compete in the 2012 World Championships in April.
The squad is trimmed to around 30 players later in January, and the final roster for the national team won’t be determined until after another camp which is held week prior to the World Championships.
All the players stay in a residence hall on the grounds at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn., and conform to a rigorous training schedule including four hours of on-ice activity each day and off-ice conditioning when not skating. The group is broken into two teams, white and blue, and the teams are kept separated from each other during the week to instill a competitive nature.
Even the two pairs of sisters, Wisconsin’s Brittany and Brooke Ammerman, and North Dakota’s Jocelyne Lamoureux and Monique Lamoureux-Kolls, are placed on separate teams.
“It’s a bit different since I don’t get to see her all day, but we get to have dinner together,” Brooke said of her younger sister Brittany. “The camp is definitely competitive with all the testing and hosting the best hockey players in the country, but it’s been a lot of fun”
The camp is the first one for sophomore goaltender Alex Rigsby, who was paired with former Badger goalie Jessie Vetter. A Delafield, Wis., native, Rigsby said she admired Vetter’s performances at UW.
“I always tried to make it to as many (Wisconsin women’s hockey) games as possible and she (Vetter) was the goalie at the time, so it was exciting to see her play and do so well,” Rigsby remarked. “She’s so much fun and great person to look up to. I was pretty excited when I saw that I was going to be with her on the same team. She’s been really supportive, and it’s been great to have her help me through my first national team tryout.”
Out of the 41 skaters, 10 have Wisconsin ties. Current Badgers Hilary Knight, Brooke Ammerman, Brianna Decker, Alex Rigsby and Brittany Ammerman are joined alongside former players, Jessie Vetter, Meghan Duggan, Erika Lawler, Geena Prough and Molly Engstrom. Having so many players from the UW is a source of pride for both sets of Badgers.
“It’s great to see so many people representing your school here,” Lawler commented. “It’s nice to have that feeling of Wisconsin here and it makes you more comfortable with those players because you’ve all come from the same place. There’s definitely that Badger pride that you always carry with you whether you’re an alumni or current player.”
The camp runs until Saturday morning, after which the five current Wisconsin players will return to Madison in preparations for the Badgers’ games against Minnesota on Jan. 6-7 in Minneapolis.